Naomi Osaka has already had a Hall of Fame-caliber tennis career. But in her next act, she wants to achieve even more.

Speaking from Los Angeles on Wednesday, the four-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 detailed her post-maternity leave ambitions to Japanese broadcaster NHK, where she revealed for the first time the physical challenges that came from her pregnancy, and that fans should expect to see a new version of herself, both on and off the court, when she returns to tennis next month.

“In the first chapter of my tennis, I got away with just being myself and playing with my instincts,” she said. “I think I want to be someone who understands the game a lot more."

Osaka's on-court goals, she said, including "put[ting] in more time at Roland Garros and Wimbledon," where she famously struggled previously, and representing Japan at the Paris Olympics. But perhaps most importantly, she said, motherhood has also given her a fresh eyes through which to look at her talents.


“I’ve never been a person that’s really good for playing for myself, if that makes sense," she said. "I kind of like the responsibility of the feeling of having to take care of Shai and wanting to show her around the world. I feel more like I’m playing for her.”

Osaka previously took time out from her training schedule on Monday to present at Adweek X, a marketing and networking conference hosted by the advertising publication. She and longtime agent Stuart Duguid were part of a panel entitled, "Out of Bounds: Naomi Osaka on Pushing Beyond the Lines and Building New Businesses On and Off the Court ," where the former world No. 1 detailed her entrepreneurship in creating the athlete-led talent agency Evolve, and the story-driven production company Hana Kuma, as well as Duguid's longtime support for her dreams.

Osaka's shift in priorities also shone through in her speech at the conference.


"There's so many phases of me as an athlete," she said during the presentation. "People that have watched me since I was younger knew that I kind of grew up on the court, and they've seen me, both on and off the court, taking big swings, taking big risks.

"At the core of everything, I just want to leave an easier path for the younger generation. And I think especially after I had my daughter, I know that I'm not going to be here forever, and I want the people younger than me to have an easier time."